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Ian Bell award: entries now open

2 October 2018

                                Photo by Mandy Bell

Budding young writers in Scotland are today invited to enter an award competition in memory of the radical journalist and author Ian Bell, who died at the age of 59 in December 2015.

The National Union of Journalists Edinburgh Branch, of which Bell was a longstanding member, set up the successful award together with his family last year. For the award’s second year, the NUJ is delighted to announce an excellent judging panel with wide-ranging experience: distinguished author and journalist Neal Ascherson, a life member of the NUJ; Susan Flockhart, freelance journalist, formerly comment and features editor for the Sunday Herald and editor of The Big Issue in Scotland; and activist, writer and curator Layla-Roxanne Hill, head of engagement at the investigative journalism platform The Ferret.  

The competition is aimed at young writers who have yet to break into professional journalism. Entries should be in the critical spirit of Ian Bell and written in a style – lively, taut, provocative but thoughtful – suitable for online and newspaper publication.  

Neal Ascherson commented today: "More than a new wave of politicians, or a fresh flight of hungry entrepreneurs, Scotland today desperately needs young journalists. In times of political chaos and fear for the future, the media are weakening – often shirking their task of speaking truth to power and betraying the diversity of Scottish opinion. Ian Bell was a brilliant warrior for truth, and Scotland has for a century produced great journalists with his combination of fearless eloquence and respect for the facts. We know that the talent is still out there, and the Ian Bell Award challenges young journalists to speak loudly and be heard."

Entrants should be aged 30 or under at 30 November 2018, and be living, working or studying in Scotland. Submissions should not have been previously published in any medium. Each entrant may submit up to two entries, each of between 1,500 and 2,000 words, which should be submitted by email, together with the contestant’s name, date of birth and place of work/study (if any), to by 30 November 2018. The winner will be announced in early February 2019, and will receive a prize of £500.

For further information please contact Hilary Horrocks, NUJ, at the above email address.

To inspire you, a selection of Ian Bell’s articles can be seen here

For further information please contact Hilary Horrocks, NUJ, at the above email address.

Tags: , ian bell, edinburgh branch, writing competition, award, young journalists